Cambodia is the dream of any animal lover because it is the habitat of numerous and rare species of birds, and aquatic animals. Thanks to the conservation and protection efforts promoted by various organizations, we can continue to enjoy Cambodia’s animal wonders and hopefully see them up close.
From tigers and Bengal cats to river dolphins, Malayan bears and elephants, Cambodia is inhabited by numerous animal species. Despite the fact that decades of poaching and illegal trade have decimated the country’s animal population, thus lengthening the list of endangered species, various organizations today join their efforts in their conservation and knowledge through eco-tourism projects, offering visitors have a first-hand experience of the work they carry out, as well as the opportunity to get up close to some animals.
Phnom Tamao Rescue Center
The NGO of Wildlife Alliance works in Cambodia to prevent illegal trade and animal trafficking as well as mistreatment. Its objective is to rehabilitate the animals to return them to their natural habitat and educate for the respect of animals. Over 30 km from Phnom Penh, the center is home to tigers, elephants, leopards, deer, gibbons and otters among others. Animal lovers will love spending a day at these facilities, which offer visitors the opportunity to feed elephants, get up close to the tiger cage, watch hand-fed animal cubs, and surround themselves with macaques.
Wildlife Release Koh Kong
Another of the NGO’s pioneering projects mentioned above is its Wildlife Release – Koh Kong in the heart of the Cardamom Mountains. After being rehabilitated at the Phnom Tamao Rescue Center, the animals are transported to a distant location and released there. Among other animals, gibbons, Malayan bears, monkeys and a variety of birds can be seen, while the forest guards tell their stories. The walks through the surrounding jungle also include rare species of flora and fauna, waterfalls and natural pools for a swim.
Sam Veasna Center
If you are passionate about birds, the Sam Veasna Center in Siem Reap is for you. This NGO, which has been active since 2006 and aims to protect the rare species of birds and promote wildlife conservation awareness and education in Northern Cambodia. The guides speak several languages and lead visitors around the sanctuary. There are several types of excursions, starting with those that last half a day. The Center also collaborates with society by employing local Cambodian guides.
Elephant Valley Project
There is something incredibly magical about watching elephants roam free in their own habitat and that is something you can experience at the Elephant Valley Project. This organization offers a retreat for abused or exploited elephants, returning them to their natural habitat. Located in the remote jungle of Mondulkiri Province, it offers visitors a series of excursions, with a duration to choose from one to five days, as well as a wide range of volunteering possibilities. During the visit, guests can trek through the jungle with the elephants and learn about the indigenous tribes in the area as well as the conservation efforts being carried out.
Angkor Center for Conservation of Biodiversity
In Siem Reap, the Angkor Center for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB) was Cambodia’s first center for the reproduction and conservation of endangered fauna. It offers daily excursions to observe among other animals from silver gibbons, silver langurs and lazy lorises to palm civets and pangolins. The guides of this sanctuary explain in depth the history of each space as well as the work carried out in the center to protect these endangered species.
The Irrawaddy dolphin of the Mekong River is found in the coastal areas of South and Southeast Asia and in the Mekong River in Kratie Province. Their only habitat is a 118-mile river between Cambodia and Laos, these rare river dolphins are very close to extinction, with an estimated population of just 78-91. You will find in Cambodia various operators who carry out excursions to spot these beautiful animals.